January 29, 2016, 9:49a.m. – CEBU CITY – THE PRESIDENT of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of the Philippines on Thursday called on pilgrims of the 51st International Eucharistic Congress (IEC) to deepen their relationship with God by rooting out the cause of all sin — pride.

“Why do we not see heaven here on earth? Why do we not see Jesus Christ as the face of the mercy of God? Why cannot we see and experience God’s mercy? All sin is pride. Idolatry, dishonor of parents, ingratitude of elders, and murder are forms of pride, “ Lingayen-Dagupan Archbishop Socrates Villlegas said in the penitential service on the fifth day of the IEC.

Quoting St. Augustine, one of the fathers of the Church, Villegas said humbling oneself was an act similar to the Son of God’s mingling with the men to better understand them.

“The face of the mercy of God has won over sin by emptying himself, becoming like us. The face of the mercy of God stooped down and washed the feet of his friends,” he explained.

Villegas likened Christ to sandalwood, known for its lasting fragrance. Sandalwood leaves its scent on the axe that cuts it and can be considered something that best represents Jesus Christ as the face of mercy of God, he said.

“It is best known for its scent. Jesus as the face of God leaves a fragrance of forgiveness on the sinner who nailed Him to the cross,” he said.

Pilgrims were then encouraged to receive the Sacrament of Reconciliation during the penitential service. Krystel Nicole A. Sevilla and Lea Mat P. Vicencio


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